Inside The Bills

CB Butler hoping for the best

Posted by Chris Brown on August 30, 2013 – 9:48 am

Bills CB Crezdon Butler had a golden opportunity to fill the void left by the injury to Stephon Gilmore. In a battle with Justin Rogers and to a lesser extent T.J. Heath, Butler needed a solid performance to put him in the running to start Week 1 against New England. He was less than pleased with his play Thursday night.

“It was alright; a couple of mishaps in my technique that resulted in a couple of catches,” said Butler. “I just have to go back, look at film and evaluate myself.”

Suffice to say the coaching staff has evaluated Butler and all the other players vying for roster spots as the roster needs to be trimmed to 53 by 6 pm Saturday.

“It’s just going to happen regardless,” said Butler of the roster decisions. “They have to get down to 53 and you just try to do everything so you’ll be on that roster and we’ll see Sunday. At the end of the day, a decision is going to be made. And you just have to go with it.”

Head coach Doug Marrone said he felt his reserve cornerbacks needed to be more effective in press coverage.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Looking for more from CBs

Posted by Chris Brown on August 30, 2013 – 1:09 am

Cornerbacks Crezdon Butler and T.J. Heath got a ton of work in Thursday night’s preseason finale against Detroit. With Stephon Gilmore out for the foreseeable future it’s left a prime opportunity for someone among the cornerbacks left to seize the job while Gilmore is out. Head coach Doug Marrone after the Thursday night game is looking for a bit more from the players he had on the field covering receivers.

“I think we’ve got to do a better job in press,” said Marrone. “Again we’ve got to be up there and contend more of those passes that they’re doing. We’ve got to put them in a position they can get the job done. We do have a lot of tape with them out there. We’ll be able to look at that. Obviously we wanted to look at both of those players to make a decision on where both of them were at. We rested Justin Rogers. We wanted to make sure we knew where those other two players were.”

Sounds like they know what they have in Justin Rogers, and perhaps discovered some very telling information about Butler and Heath in the game. We’ll see how it impacts the cornerback position, which is expected to carry six players including Gilmore.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

CB snap counts show tight race

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2013 – 4:06 pm

Looking at the snap counts among Buffalo’s cornerbacks it’s hard to discern any notable edge that the chief combatants for Stephon Gilmore’s vacant might have heading into the final preseason game tonight.

Both Crezdon Butler and Justin Rogers have missed preseason games, with Rogers missing each of the first two. Butler just missed the Minnesota game. But heading into the preseason finale tonight their snap counts on defense are pretty even (56 to 49). Rogers got a ton of work in the Washington game with 49 snaps on defense. Butler got about half of that (26) last week.

CB defensive snap counts thru 3 games
Name                                    Snaps
Ron Brooks                         77
Stephon Gilmore             76
Nickell Robey                     66
Crezdon Butler (2 gm)      56
T.J. Heath                            49
Justin Rogers (1 gm)         49
Leodis McKelvin (1 gm)    39
Kip Edwards                       36

CB special teams snap counts thru 3 games
Ron Brooks                         29
T.J. Heath                            26
Nickell Robey                     20
Crezdon Butler (2 gm)      13
Kip Edwards                       11
Justin Rogers (1 gm)         10
Stephon Gilmore             6
Leodis McKelvin (1 gm)   4

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Posted in Inside the Bills

CB Butler may have edge

Posted by Chris Brown on August 27, 2013 – 9:32 am

Bills CB Crezdon Butler likely would’ve had the primary reserve cornerback spot nailed down by now had he not missed the second preseason game with an injury. After his strong opening preseason performance at Indy, he followed it up with a one tackle and one pass breakup performance against Washington as he received just 26 snaps. Now with Stephon Gilmore out of the lineup for a while, Butler is in direct competition with Justin Rogers to try and fill the void.

Justin Rogers got the longest look last Saturday, and understandably so, having missed the first two preseason games with a hamstring injury. Rogers had a pair of tackles in 49 snaps.

T.J. Heath, a darkhorse candidate, got just 12 snaps last Saturday.

Butler was lined up with the ones in practice Tuesday morning. We’ll see if that continues leading up to Thursday’s preseason finale. Where Butler has the edge over Rogers is chiefly with size as he’s 6’1″ and 191 pounds. He’s just a longer limbed player than Rogers, who despite being just two inches shorter, has a more compact build.

You typically want longer players on the outside to being able to reach around a receiver or over a receiver and knock balls away. Shorter limbed corners on the outside can’t do that and often go through the receiver drawing a penalty flag. That’s partly why coaches utilize shorter more compact cover men on the slot receivers.

So as long as Butler can prove to be every bit as effective a player on the boundary as Rogers, if not more so, he will likely get the nod as Gilmore’s replacement.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone not worried about depth at CB

Posted by Chris Brown on August 14, 2013 – 11:10 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone spends time on the details when it comes to his football team. Keenly in tune with the measure of talent at each and every position on the roster, Marrone doesn’t harbor concerns about the team’s cornerback position.

Leodis McKelvin has been sidelined since last week with a groin problem as a result of overcompensating for the surgically repaired side of his groin. Justin Rogers is only now just returning to the practice setting, though he’s not going to play in Friday’s preseason game against Minnesota.

With a lack of proven performers to line up on the boundary some wonder if the depth at cornerback is sufficient. Marrone does not.

“I would like to have Leodis back and playing, but we want to be smart about it and bring him back when he’s fully healed and ready to go,” said Marrone. “Knowing that he’s going to be back I think provides a sense of, I don’t know if comfort is the right word, but you feel he’s coming back.

“We feel good about how the other players are developing behind him. We have a lot of options there and options at our safety position that can do that. So as far as going out and looking for someone else for that position who may not be in camp right now, I don’t see that. We have enough players here to make us sleep at night.”

Marrone is referring to both Aaron Williams and Duke Williams as safeties that have the ability to line up at cornerback. Crezdon Butler is also coming off a nice opening preseason performance.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

5 performances you might’ve missed

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2013 – 11:54 am

There were a number of quality individual performances in Buffalo’s first preseason game that made the highlight reel, but there were some that flew under the radar Sunday. Here’s a look at some of the better play turned in by some players you might not have noticed watching the game live.

Crezdon Butler – The cornerback was noticed on his second quarter interception off a tipped pass by Manny Lawson that led to a Bills field goal, but Butler had two other pass breakups in the game to lead the team with three. Those other two both came on third downs. One was on a 3rd-and-6 play at the Bills 26, which forced the Colts to settle for a FG. The other was on a 3rd-and-5 at the Colts 13, which forced a punt. He also had a third down tackle on a 3rd-and-2 bringing down Nate Palmer for no gain to force another punt. A really nice effort for the corner that’s been running with the second unit.

Jarron Gilbert – The reserve defensive lineman wasn’t dominant, but turned in a few plays that helped the defense get off the field. He had a quarterback pressure on a 3rd-and-5 that led to a Colts punt. Gilbert also had a tackle for loss on a pass to Colts back Kerwynn Williams out of the backfield dropping him for a loss of two. He had a pass breakup to his credit too.

Shawn Powell – Powell, who was coming off his best practice of camp, punted very well Sunday. He only kicked twice, but boomed a 55-yarder to the Indianapolis 15. Accomplished return man T.Y. Hilton unfortunately had a 15-yard return on the play. His other punt from his own 28 he launched out of bounds at the Colts 26 on a 46-yard effort. His best work however, may have come on his holds as he had to reach outside his body frame to get a couple of field goal snaps down in time for the kick attempts.

Nickell Robey – Robey had just a couple of tackles on defense holding receivers short of moving the sticks on both, but more importantly he proved himself capable as a punt returner. He looked elusive on his three return attempts. He had a long of just 14 yards, but he averaged 11.7 yards a return and made coverage players miss. Anytime a punter can average better than a first down (10 yards) you’re considered very productive.

DeMarco Sampson – Sampson got 28 snaps, but only 15 were pass plays. He had four receptions for 49 yards late in the game. Three of his catches went for first downs. He also drew a pass interference penalty that gave the Bills a first down on a third-quarter TD drive.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Justin Rogers injury update

Posted by Chris Brown on July 31, 2013 – 11:40 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone provided an update on CB Justin Rogers after he missed his second day of practice.

Rogers watched from the sidelines at practice Wednesday morning. Head coach Doug Marrone however, doesn’t expect the cornerback to miss much time.

“It was his right hamstring,” said Marrone. “He’ll be out for a short period of time.”

Rogers was running with the first team at cornerback opposite Stephon Gilmore. Leodis McKelvin stepped into the starting lineup in Rogers’ place Wednesday. As for who fills the void for Rogers in the interim, Marrone mentioned who would move up the depth chart.

“We’ll have (T.J.) Heath and (Crezdon) Butler filling in for him,” said Marrone.

Butler got first team reps Tuesday in Rogers’ place, but it was McKelvin Wednesday, and that’s expected to remain the same moving forward. Butler and Heath ran with the second team at the outside corner spots Wednesday.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-7

Posted by Chris Brown on December 7, 2012 – 4:16 pm

Hey Bills fans, here is the latest edition of your questions from and @ChrisBrownBills on Twitter for Fan Friday. Keep your questions coming.

1 – Chris,

I wanted to address the “Fitzpatrick Situation”. A few weeks ago, Buddy Nix acknowledged the need to upgrade the quarterback position, which was in stark contrast to his and Chan’s position on the issue 11 weeks ago. My fear is this seems to be set in motion more by public opinion than cognitive thought and, given the incoming crop of potential rookie quarterbacks, a draft pick may be sacrificed to appease the fan base rather than invested on more pressing needs in the secondary and linebacking corp.

Thanks for all you do,

CB: Buddy actually addressed that very subject in his weekly appearance on WGR Sportradio 550 this Friday. Here’s what he said.

“I know we’ve discussed the quarterback many times. The fans are so eager for us to make something happen and they’re not any more eager than I am,” said Nix. “They got the idea I think that we were automatically going to draft a quarterback in the first round. That’s not necessarily true. We’re going to always stay with the integrity of the board. We’re going to try to find a quarterback. If one is there and he’s rated at the right spot we’re going to take him wherever that is. I don’t want people to expect that no matter who is there in the first round we’re going to take a quarterback because that’s not true. We’ll still take the best player.”


2 – Chris,

There’s been a lot of criticism of Chan Gailey’s play calling.  A lot of Monday Morning Quarterbacking obviously.  But the one area I feel the Bills are particularly weak is 3rd/4th and very short yardage (2 yards or less).  Aside from some game changing fumbles in those situations (Patriots home game going into the half comes to mind), the heavily criticized wildcat formations, and the failure in the four minute offense on Thursday against Miami, most egregious to me is why the team doesn’t ever use a QB sneak (particularly on 1 yard to go situations).  The interior of this line would seem to be the strength. And with Eric Wood and Levitre playing at All-Pro levels, and Fitz being a fairly stout guy, it would seem that calling a QB sneak behind Wood/Levitre would be a reasonable call. Yet I can’t recall the team using it in any key situations this season (or any situation for that matter).  Tom Brady will often race to the line and use a quick snap QB sneak. But even a traditional sneak would seem a reasonable play that they rarely ever use.  Why not?  Is it even in their playbook?

Jeffrey Suchocki

CB: Well we did see a one-yard sneak for a touchdown by Ryan Fitzpatrick against Jacksonville, so yes it is in their playbook. I also think you’re a bit off the mark regarding short yardage. Buffalo is 15th in the league in 3rd-and-1 conversion percentage (64.3%) and 16th in the league in 3rd-and-1 and 4th-and-1 conversion percentage (64.3%). On 3rd-and-short conversions they’re 18th in the league (53.7%). It’s not great, but their success rate is respectable.


3 – Hi Chris,

Just looking ahead at the possibilities of the Bills filling in some holes with Free Agency and how active they might be this coming off-season. I would love for them to make upgrades at corner, wide receiver, and linebacker (quarterback too, but that would likely be addressed in the draft). How much cap space do the Bills currently have to work with in the off-season? I know that re-signing Byrd and Levitre will be top priorities for them, but once they’re taken care of, how much room will they likely have to work with, if any at all? Would love to see Dwayne Bowe in a Bills uniform!

As always, love the coverage you provide for us … please keep up the great work!


CB: Thanks for the kind words. I am not in a position to provide cap space figures, but I can tell you that Buffalo has a lot of young players coming up for contract consideration. You mentioned Byrd and Levitre. They’ve also got Kraig Urbik, Chad Rinehart to consider for their offensive line. Restricted free agents include David Nelson and Donald Jones. Leodis McKelvin is another unrestricted free agent of note. So very quickly just for the Bills to keep their own they’ll be eating into heavily into their cap space if they decide to do some long terms deals with any of the aforementioned players.

One free agent to be that hasn’t garnered much attention is Kyle Moore, who will also be unrestricted at season’s end.

That’s why the thought of Dwayne Bowe in a Bills uniform is a pipe dream. Buffalo is already heavily invested in the wide receiver position with Stevie Johnson. They likely intend to invest more with Nelson and Jones. So to try and add Bowe, who is looking for upwards of $10M a season, it’s just not going to happen.

Other veteran free agents of note include Bryan Scott, Corey McIntyre and Spencer Johnson.


4 – Chris,

Numbers don’t lie and it’s clear that Mario Williams’ production has spiked since his wrist procedure during the bye week.  Also, since it only took him 7-10 days to heal and be back at practice it’s obvious that this should have been corrected during Training Camp.  I’m wondering who, if any, should receive the blame for the failure to address this injury until after 7gms and a fine from the NFL related the Bills injury report?  Seems unfortunate because his current production could have really helped during the first half of the season.

Aaron from Brooklyn

CB: To clear up some confusion, Williams injured the wrist in the preseason finale at Detroit. Granted that was 10 days before the opener, but I think the parties involved likely made the decision to play through the injury since that’s what happened. After it failed to improve surgery was decided upon.

It’s very easy for hindsight to be 20-20 in any case like this. The bottom line is the next time there was a window of opportunity to Bills jumped on it.


5 – Hey Chris,

Just wanted to see what you thought of Crezdon Butler’s play against the Jaguars.  With the game blacked out I didn’t see much.  Did he fare well?  And if so, does that count for anything even if it is against the young receiving core of the Jaguars? 

Tommy of Pittsford

Well he got 16 snaps in the Jacksonville game, 13 of those came in coverage. He did draw a flag in the game for defensive holding that led to a first down, but the biggest pass play he gave up was an 18-yard completion to Cecil Shorts. So all in all it wasn’t a bad debut performance in limited action.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

CB injuries to push ‘green’ players on field

Posted by Chris Brown on December 1, 2012 – 5:05 pm

With Justin Rogers and Aaron Williams still fighting injuries it could push younger cornerbacks onto the field Sunday against the Jaguars.

Both Rogers and Williams are questionable. Rogers sustained a foot injury in practice this week and Williams is trying to return from a knee injury in Week 9. Buffalo may have to turn to less experienced players like Ron Brooks and Crezdon Butler this Sunday against Jacksonville.

“You hope that these guys understand the urgency of preparing to play because these young guys are going to have to play,” Chan Gailey told “And it’s not easy to play against good players like we’re going to face this week and the rest of the season. They’re going to have to grow up in a hurry. This group is very green.

“I don’t think I’d put Stephon (Gilmore) in that group, but I think you’ve got Brooks and Crezdon Butler and those guys that haven’t played much at all. They’re going to have to step up if they play in the ball game.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

CB Brooks heads to dentist

Posted by Chris Brown on November 21, 2012 – 4:17 pm

Bills rookie CB Ron Brooks was not in attendance for practice. Head coach Chan Gailey explained why after Wednesday’s workout.

“Brooks was not here,” said Gailey. “He had emergency dental surgery. He’ll hopefully be back in the next day or so.”

With Brooks missing from practice, Crezdon Butler filled in as the team’s fourth cornerback Wednesday.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills had eye on CB Butler

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2012 – 4:26 pm

Bills newly signed CB Crezdon Butler was a young player that Buffalo has had their eye on long before they signed him Wednesday.

Head coach Chan Gailey explained how the club tried to sign him earlier this season.

“We have had our eye on Crezdon Butler for a while now and Buddy’s always liked him,” said Gailey of the Bills GM. “He’s a guy that we looked at a few weeks ago when Arizona let him go. We were trying to get him at that time but it didn’t work out. And now it worked out that we had a spot and we were able to get him.”

Butler is a former fifth-round pick of the Steelers (2010).

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Butler and Welch jersey numbers

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2012 – 10:09 am

The Bills signed CB Crezdon Butler and OT Thomas Welch Wednesday to fill out their roster. Here are their jersey numbers.

Butler will wear 29 and Welch will wear 66.

Welch was actually with the Bills briefly last season when he was signed to the practice squad Nov. 17th. Four days later he was signed off Buffalo’s practice squad by the Rams, where he appeared in five games. Butler has appeared in eight career games.

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Posted in Inside the Bills
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